Letter: Facade folly

At my age, I generally avoid disputatiousness, but I just saw for the first time the new Greenfield Savings Bank facade in Shelburne Falls and am thunderstruck. Anyone and everyone who designed or approved that new facade should feel shame for placing such a boil on the skin of Bridge Street. Shelburne Falls is above all an authentic small town, as are its people. Its public architecture should reflect the spirit of such a place. We know it is possible by the example of the new Greenfield Co-op Bank facade and even the modern Young and Constantin Gallery that fits with the vernacular.

The GSB architect seems to have wanted to fit the building somehow with the Arms library, but he failed miserably with this parody. How could this cheesy, ersatz piece of Las Vegas be allowed to become part of our iconic main street, especially given its gateway position? I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say this building will ruin the feeling of the place for many citizens and visitors. It has none of our genuineness or reticence, offers only a cheap fakery that grabs you by the throat so you can’t even ignore it, given the light colored entry that juts its chest out like a nouveau riche braggart’s, topped off by those pathetic, wrongly scaled Palladian windows. The building has no dignity. It is a spit in the eye of the community. Any business that would do that to the town cannot really understand or care about what its very special citizens are about. Take your money elsewhere please so they might be motivated to redo this excrescence.

MARY ROBERTSON

Shelburne Falls

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